The Bayelsa State government has announced that a total number of 58 workers of the State Post Primary Schools Board have been recommended for compulsory retirement over alleged cases of falsification of records in terms of under declaration of age and questionable letters of first appointment. The State Post Primary School Board also announced that it has reduced the staff wage bill from N609m to N594m representing a savings of N15m as a result of the reforms. The chairman of the Board, Dr Asiam Ikuru, disclosed this yesterday in Yenagoa during a press conference on the state of the Board, that the Board was reconstituted in April by the state governor with specific instructions to ensure that the wage bill of the Board is audited by checking all financial books and records. Dr Asiam Ikuru also said the board scrutinised and verified discrepancies that exist in terms of indiscriminate award of salary grade levels and steps in the payment vouchers and nominal rolls of the Board.
She said the board constituted two committees – Salary Grade Levels And Steps Regularisation Committee (SGLSRC) and the Over-Aged Staff Verification Committee (OASVC).
Ikuru noted that while the SGLSRC was saddled with the responsibilities of properly placing staff on their rightful salary grade levels and steps, the OASVC is to identify staff that are above the civil service statutory retirement age of 60 or 35 years of service.She said, “The SGLSRC audited the vouchers and nominal rolls of 189 schools, zonal boards and board headquarters with a staff strength of 5,980. The payroll gross in August was N594.1m and the gross audit for the same month was N557.7m.“Therefore, the audit report, if implemented, will be making a savings of N36.3m for the board. As regards the OASVC, a total number of 413 staff cases of falsification of records in terms of under-declaration of age and questionable letters of first appointments were reviewed with a wage bill of N35.4m.
“Out of this number, 141 were cleared and 158 staff recommended for immediate retirement, grossing a wage bill of N9.5m. Meanwhile, 114 staff were absent from the exercise, grossing a wage bill of N9.8m. The board, having waited for more than a month without hearing from those staff and absentees, has now recommended them for possible retirement from services.
“Therefore, if these recommendations are implemented, the board stands to save a total of N19.3m. If the recommendations of the two committees are pooled together financially, the board will now gross in a total savings of N55.7m per month and N669.3m per annum.”
Ikuru commended Governor Dickson for damning the consequences and carrying out the necessary reforms to sanitise and correct anomalies in the public service, noting that it was in a bid to ensure that staff are placed in their rightful positions and that a good foundation for a prosperous state civil service is formally laid. She stressed that the essence of the exercise is not to witch-hunt or sack but to clean up and sanitise the system, saying that every complaint should be forwarded via the principals and zonal directors to the board. She appealed to the governor to approve the implementation of staff promotion for July 2015 and January 2016 of the board by merely making the pronouncement, even as she assured the governor that internal mechanisms were already in place to take care of all the details.